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Small plates with vegetables
Photograph: Mallow

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Slick, seasonal dining from Mildreds’ meat-free family

Vegan food can be many things. It can be cheeze and facon, or it can be droopy salads and lentil bolognese. But it doesn’t need to be. That’s the idea behind Mallow, a new sister venue to cult London veggie restaurant Mildreds. Mallow is right next to the Thames and Borough Market, from where most of its ingredients are sourced. Like at Mildreds, the cuisine is from all over: there’s Thai, Indian, American, Middle Eastern and more. It’s all plant-based and all seasonal – a millennial’s wet dream, pretty much. Safe to say, I was rather excited. 

Mallow serves breakfast and lunch, but I went for dinner, kicking things off with a Hot and Smoky cocktail (mezcal, ancho reyes verde, and green tea). It was sharp, moreish, and complex. My pal had a fragrant blackberry and rosemary marg which looked and tasted equally as pleasing. The rest of the drinks list featured a decent selection of vegan beer and wine, ranging from £25 for a bottle to £73.

Interiors-wise, large, swooping flowers and hummingbirds adorn every wall, making them look like they’re covered in that slightly-dodgy IKEA wallpaper that everyone at school picked when redoing their bedrooms aged 13. I get that the venue was going for the plant-based decor thing here, but it didn’t do it for me. The fake plants on the ceiling didn’t help either. 

Anyway, on to the food. First, I tried a couple of small plates, starting with the skordalia and chargrilled celeriac skewer with jerusalem artichoke mash. It was very beige, but tasted soft and satisfying. I also went for the son dumplings with fiery kimchi and gochujang dip. I would have licked the ramekin of sauce if it was socially acceptable.

For mains, we ordered the market thali: a rainbow plate of masala vegetables, kiri hodi, red lentil dhal, pumpkin methi pickle, chana basmati and two slices of naan. I was a bit sceptical – if I wanted a thali, I’d normally just go to an Indian restaurant. But this was everything you could want: creamy, flavourful and filling, extremely easy to share and great value for money at £16.

I also tried the pumpkin feta kibbeh with beluga lentil beetroot ezme. This looked spectacular, with a large green pepper mimicking the swirl of tahini. It was tasty enough, but I’d be disappointed if it was all I’d ordered. There was too much salad and not enough tahini (which added a much-needed zesty tang), and I could hardly taste the pumpkin or feta in the kibbeh. 

We don’t really have a culture of ‘going out for dessert’ in the UK. We need to change that, because I’d come back here (hopefully feeling less full) just for the pudding. First up was the chocolate hazelnut financier with white chocolate mousse. It looked almost identical to a Gü melt-in-the-middle (if you know, you know), but was somehow vegan yet had a rich, solid sponge. I think I actually heard angels singing when I had a spoonful of the salty, crunchy hazelnut with the soothing pearly mousse. Almost as good was the carrot cake sticky toffee with cream cheese: sour, sweet, dense and nostalgic in all the right ways. 

Bar dessert, which took a while to arrive (we started to wonder if they’d forgotten it), the service was swift and the staff cracked tasteful, self-deprecating jokes, which always helps. The overall atmosphere felt more sophisticated than Mildreds (especially my Dalston local, which I’m used to seeing hidden under scaffolding when I’ve been for hungover brunch and Bloody Marys). Looking around, it could have been a Saturday rather than a Tuesday evening: tables were full, people were drinking plentifully and there was that distinct hum of chitter-chatter that all good restaurants generate effortlessly. Not bad, and definitely no facon in sight. 

The vibe Vegetables, but make it fancy. 

The food Peng portion sizes and dishes in all the colours of the rainbow. 

The drink Handsome cocktails and an all-vegan wine list.

Time Out tip? Don’t skip dessert.

Written by
Chiara Wilkinson


1 Cathedral St
Opening hours:
8.30am-11pm Mon-Fri, 9am-11pm Sat, 9am-10pm Sun
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